Nigeria President Bola Ahmed Tinubu‘s administration has faced lack of enthusiasm from the masses in its first 100 days in power. Unlike previous first term governments, there was no fanfare or jubilation. As the country faces numerous challenges, the question arises: can President Tinubu calm the renegades and bring unity and progress to Nigeria?
The implementation of the fuel subsidy removal and new monetary policies in an attempt to harmonise the currency exchange rates has left poor Nigerians groaning as their cost of living continues to rise. However, it is intriguing that Nigerians have remained uneasily calm in the midst of current economic hardships.
One may wonder if Nigerians have simply been tamed by their circumstances. The old saying goes, “when an adversary is cornered, allow him an outlet, for in his state of desperation he might surprise you.” Perhaps the Nigerian people are biding their time, waiting to see what President Tinubu’s administration will do to address their concerns.
To redefine and reshape a nation’s national purposes has always required a critical and radical approach. The Tinubu administration inherited a country in turmoil, facing astronomical economic and social uncertainties. Until these issues are addressed and resolved through direct confrontation with established political and economic challenges, the dream of building an enduring and robust economy will remain out of reach.
President Tinubu must tackle these challenges head-on and provide innovative solutions. He must not shy away from making tough decisions that may not be popular with the masses in the short term but are necessary for long-term progress. The Nigerian people are looking for a leader who can steer the country towards stability, unity, and economic prosperity.
It is crucial that President Tinubu builds a capable and competent team to assist him in addressing the renegades and their disruptive activities. This team must be dedicated to restoring law and order, tackling corruption, and creating an enabling environment for businesses to thrive. By doing so, President Tinubu can restore the confidence of the Nigerian people and inspire them to participate actively in the nation-building process.
The country currently faces a multitude of socio-political tensions, resulting in a nation that is in turmoil. President Tinubu inherited a plethora of legacy problems, including multidimensional poverty, insecurity, ethnic agitation, and a general state of desolation. As the leader of Africa’s most populous black nation, President Bola Tinubu is faced with the daunting task of shaping the country’s fortunes, which have been marred by crushing economic difficulties.
Since taking office on 29 May, President Tinubu has focused on salvaging the wreckage that is the Nigerian economy by removing all obstacles that inhibit productivity and growth. His first action was to put a stop to the fuel subsidy, a scheme that had consumed 21 trillion Naira between 2005 and 2023, under the guise of providing cheap petrol. This was done in a nation that has struggled to generate adequate electricity to power its industries, fund universal basic education, and run its hospitals.
The President’s objective is to reprioritize national spending in the face of endemic corruption. The removal of the subsidy now means that more funding is available for the development of critical infrastructure, positioning the country on the path to economic recovery and prosperity.
The foreign exchange markets have long been plagued by corruption and economic sabotage, with preferential forex allocations being a common occurrence. The sudden shift in the foreign exchange markets, coupled with the removal of fuel subsidies, has resulted in a significant increase in the cost of living across the nation. This has led many to question whether the promised hope of the ruling party has been replaced by hardship.
President Tinubu has demonstrated true leadership during this turbulent period in Africa’s most populous black nation. Through public statements, national broadcasts, and meetings with stakeholders and business leaders, he has not shied away from addressing the difficult issues facing the nation and explaining the necessity of tough decisions to save the economy from collapse. Despite this, Nigerians continue to struggle with the rising cost of living, prompting the unveiling of a number of intervention programs aimed at providing relief to the most vulnerable citizens.
Under the leadership of President Tinubu, the administration has launched a series of palliative measures aimed at supporting the most vulnerable citizens. These initiatives include the allocation of N5 billion to each of the 36 states and FCT for the procurement of food items, fertilisers, and seedlings for distribution to households and farmers.
The federal government dispatched 100,000 bags of rice to the states to provide immediate relief to the people. The federal government, in collaboration with state governments, is working on modalities under the national economic council to review the national minimum wage and increase salaries for public and private sector workers.
In line with current trends, the federal government is exploring cheaper and more affordable fuel sources. To this end, it plans to deploy 11,500 CNG-powered mass transit buses in partnership with participating mass transit companies. The government is also setting up CNG mega stations across the country in collaboration with NNPC and NIPCO to serve 200,000 motorists daily. The organised private sector (OPS) has also taken the initiative to increase staff salaries in line with prevailing economic circumstances. The federal government is working on direct cash transfers targeted at over 20 million vulnerable people in collaboration with the World Bank, states, and local governments.
President Tinubu recognized from the outset that the current revenue profile of the federal and state governments cannot fund the necessary development in Nigeria. He emphasised the need to increase revenue generation across the nation and questioned the need to borrow to fund infrastructural development. The Taiwo Oyedele-led tax and fiscal policy reforms committee was set up to close the N20 trillion annual revenue gap in tax collection.
In political appointments, President Tinubu ensured national harmony and geopolitical balance in the distribution of key portfolios. He appointed an Igbo man from Enugu as the Chief of Naval Staff and a minority and Christian from Southern Kaduna as the Chief of Defense Staff.
President Tinubu’s empathy and communication skills have endeared him to Nigerians, and he has demonstrated a clear vision for reshaping and revamping the national economy. He recently laid down his vision for the country and surrounded himself with advisers who share and work towards that shared goal.
President Tinubu must continue to foster social harmony and reduce ethnic and political tensions across the country to truly calm the renegades.